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It's funny.  Laugh. Patents The Courts Your Rights Online

Patent Troll Targets Samsung and RIM With Emoticon Button Patent 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-live-without-a-:)-button dept.
eldavojohn writes "Apparently the Samsung and Apple patent hoedown has received some uninvited guests that wish to troll with the big trolls — all over a built-in button for an emoticon. According to Varia Holdings (don't bother googling, you won't find anyone trying to license their patents to you) 'by asserting [its European] emoticon patent against Apple, Samsung has recognized the value of the type of invention embodied in [Varia's] '731 Patent.' And, thusly, Varia feels this provides grounds to sue Samsung and RIM. Techdirt provides commentary on the obviousness of said patent while raking the USPTO examiner over the coals (although, curiously, gives Samsung a free pass)."
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Patent Troll Targets Samsung and RIM With Emoticon Button Patent

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  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:57PM (#39407243)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click/ [wikipedia.org]

    And Neither should have gotten a patent.

    It's almost as if UPSTO examiners have "lobbyists", too?

  • Yeah, it's probably a lot more biased than it needs to be.

    Thanks, sometimes I wonder if anyone ever notices my efforts.

    But as for hating patent trolIs, are there many people who actually like them? Obviously some lawyers because it keeps them employed, but other than that?

    Well, that's a tough question. I would imagine that they like themselves but not other patent trolls but I can't be sure if they hate themselves. Perhaps we should investigate if the rate of suicide is higher in patent trolls? On a more serious note, there is one odd person that likes patents: nationalists. Whether you be a member of the US government or just a good ole fashion rah rah USA nutjob, there is a growing intellectual war between the United States and China. Sure, other countries like Japan get a lot of patents but patent trolls translate to "innovation" when it comes to number of patents and, let's face it, it's patent trolls that file for the most patents without actually building anything or licensing anything. I guess you could argue that they hurt the economy when small businesses get blindsided by these lawsuits but they always target the deepest coffers which usually seem to be happy to cough up and settle out of court. I can't think of anyone else really that benefits from this -- even the courtrooms in East Texas are clogged with shitty patent cases while trying to take care of real problems among the local people.

    And is there anyone who tries to make a case that they are somehow beneficial to society? (serious questions BTW. I've never heard any argument in support of this practice)

    Well, your question could be answered by This American Life's Episode 441 [thisamericanlife.org] but there's a key problem. First, in that podcast, Intellectual Ventures argues that they help inventors protect their IP by suing the shit out of everyone that tries to implement anything remotely like the patents in question. And they also claim that they constantly license patents to people without involving a painful legal battle. However, as the TAL team asks for a happy license customer, IV can only give them one name of someone whose patent they license. And, gosh darn it, wouldn't you know it, as they tried to contact this individual it turned out that Intellectual Ventures was going around suing people and gathering out of court settlements in the name of that patent without the right to. And IV's response to this? Us normal people don't know what the hell we're talking about [techdirt.com].

    So there you go, sorry for the bias in my submission and this post but, well, when it warrants it I'm not afraid to call horseshit horseshit.

  • Wildseed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cliffjumper222 (229876) on Monday March 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#39408219)

    I worked with Wildseed - they were a good bunch of folks with a decent idea - a phone targeted at kids that you could swap the outside and it'd change the UI. They planned to sell different branded shells for pop groups, etc. that would effectively re-theme the phone you had completely. The phone itself was really funky, with a slight boomerang shape, and the keyboard was at the top with the screen below. (You can see a diagram here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D0470135-0-large.jpg). The phone also had an LED strip on the top of the phone that enabled you to sky-write messages to others by waving the phone. I also remember they had a cool FM radio channel sharing feature, where you could quickly tell your mates to check out a station. All in all, they had a tonne of ideas and they did in fact manage to sell a few phones, but ultimately, it died and AOL bought them.
    The patent looks good to me. Very solid, and narrow. It's for a hardware button on the phone that enables you to quickly enter emoticons. Unless someone can point to a phone that did that before, then I don't see any prior art. As for obviousness, that's a very low bar. If no one had done it before (for emoticons) then why would it be obvious?
    The problem I see here is that the good intended patent, to protect a start-up's business ended up in a troll haus.

    Cliff

  • Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cyberllama (113628) on Monday March 19, 2012 @06:58PM (#39408829)

    Samsung "gets a free pass" because they used their patents the "right" way and used it as a defensive deterrent against other lawsuits. When Apple sued them, they sued back as a means of increasing their leverage in a legal battle. Samsung wasn't out simply trolling with the patent, as this company seems to be.

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